How Much Does Animation Cost Per Second?-Article

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  2 Weeks Ago
How Much Does Animation Cost Per Second?-Article

When a client approaches me for animation work, the trickiest part is always negotiating the price. Most individuals interested in freelance animation donít realize how much time, money, and effort goes into even the simplest of cartoons.Below, Iíve listed famous examples of animation, along with how much each second cost to create (Budget Adjusted for Inflation / Running Time). Hopefully this can help other animators and potential clients judge pricing more clearly. (Keep in mind, though, that studios usually hire entire teams of animators, celebrity voice actors, etc., so not every bit of the budget went toward animation, but animation is typically the most expensive part of any film).†

http://www.calslater.com/2017/10/31...nd-illustrated/
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  2 Weeks Ago
Wow I just noticed something....well not just noticed....but Millenium Actress cost about $397 a second.† † So when pricing as the article mentions it helps to adjust for location.†
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  2 Weeks Ago
The problem is charging per second. You have to get a budget based on the value of the product. Then it will likely average some amount. In my work, I charge for the level of effort. The hourly rate is dependent on the industry and the level of accuracy (bulletproofness) needed.
 
  2 Weeks Ago
3D software needs innovation really badly. Faster. Better. Cheaper.

Almost all 3D software you can buy today is based on ageing 3D graphics techniques pioneered way back in the late 20th Century.

We need new approaches, new workflows, new algorithms and new paradigms in CG.

Then you won't get XXXXX Dollar per-second costs for animation anymore. And CG won't be a slave to commercial trends and market forces anymore.

We'll actually see a lot of good quality 2 hour CG features made by enthusiasts and independent artists if anyone ever builds revolutionary new CG tools for us.
 
  2 Weeks Ago
Originally Posted by skeebertus: 3D software needs innovation really badly. Faster. Better. Cheaper.

Almost all 3D software you can buy today is based on ageing 3D graphics techniques pioneered way back in the late 20th Century.


This can be attributed solely to Autodesk's domination of the 3d content creation software market. They swallowed up the three biggest software packages, stupidly killing off the most mature of the three. They also acquired a slew of other innovative and successful products, only to let them languish and enter a state of entropy.†

This is also why big VFX companies and animation studios create so much proprietary software. The market just isn't providing what these studios need, though SideFX and Foundry have some really great products which have replaced a lot of proprietary tools and workflows, as well as tools and workflows which used to be the domain of Autodesk products.

Originally Posted by skeebertus: We need new approaches, new workflows, new algorithms and new paradigms in CG.

Then you won't get XXXXX Dollar per-second costs for animation anymore. And CG won't be a slave to commercial trends and market forces anymore.

We'll actually see a lot of good quality 2 hour CG features made by enthusiasts and independent artists if anyone ever builds revolutionary new CG tools for us.

This is doubtful. Being an "enthusiast" isn't enough to create a quality 2 hour CG feature, or even a quality 2 minute long short. Creating quality animation goes far beyond just having the right tools, there's a lot of hard work as well as technical, artistic, and production management expertise that goes into making these things. Blender is more advanced than any of the tools available when Toy Story 1 was created, or even the next generation of features such as Shrek/Nemo/Monsters, yet I don't see any "enthusiasts" making 2 hour features of that level.†
 
  2 Weeks Ago
Quote: This is doubtful. Being an "enthusiast" isn't enough to create a quality 2 hour CG feature, or even a quality 2 minute long short. Creating quality animation goes far beyond just having the right tools, there's a lot of hard work as well as technical, artistic, and production management expertise that goes into making these things. Blender is more advanced than any of the tools available when Toy Story 1 was created, or even the next generation of features such as Shrek/Nemo/Monsters, yet I don't see any "enthusiasts" making 2 hour features of that level.†

Needs to be more than enthusiasm which is needed.† You need skill and collaboration.† †Sadly those with enthusiasm don't always have the skill.† †Those with the skill don't have the collaboration.† † The tools are already there like you said.† † We don't need new special tools, although it would be nice,† but those same tools are pretty much available to folks now.††

I will say about tools....I saw this pretty cool animation software I'm quite interested in.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEWS_XV8cRA
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  2 Weeks Ago
Polygons and texture mapping were created decades ago because that was the ONLY computationally efficient way to get the slow, primitive, expensive computers of that time to do 3D graphics at all.

The technology was never meant to be used all the way to the year 2017 - it was meant to allow the computers of THAT time to do very basic 3D graphics with the technology available at THAT time.

The assumption was that as computers got faster and more powerful, something far better, cleverer and more suitable would probably be invented, and computer graphics done in completely new and different ways.

What are we using decades later? Polygons, texture maps, a few material shaders and some more computationally expensive ray-tracing/lighting algorithms.

When I mean better tools, I don't mean "give me Maya or C4D or Blender with a sleeker user interface".

I mean give me really NEW tech under the hood. Not polygons. Not ray-tracing or path-tracing. Not bitmaps mapped onto poly faces. Not light-calculation techniques that come from 1990s computer graphics papers.

Really NEW stuff for every aspect - modeling, materials, rigging, lighting, animation, scripting, dynamics. New everything.

Somebody needs to sit down and totally re-invent CG as we know it, otherwise CG will always be slow, expensive, require a 30 man team to get anything major produced, and extraordinarily inefficient.

Just ask the many, many people who completely quit doing 3D/CG professionally, as a hobby or as an art form in the last few years.

They didn't get out because they completely lost the passion to produce cool, creative 3D stuff.

They got out because the software AND hardware side of things got stuck in an endless loop of non-innovation or quasi-innovation.

Want me to draw you a picture of what CG looks like in 2025?

In 2025 you get a choice between Maya, Max, C4D, Blender and Houdini.

The software still looks almost exactly the same save for minor UI overhauls and more stylish logos or promotional websites.

85% of the functions in the software are left overs from today - 2017.

And the software, with the exception of Blender, still costs anywhere from 2K to 5K per license.

People are still trying to sell you textures, HDRIs, plugin render engines and little modeling plugins.

The overall workflow logic of the software is exactly the same today. Model - stupidly - with good old fashioned polygons. Try to fix the topology as best as you can. Put a rig inside it. Tweak the rig endlessly till it works. Try to animate by hand. If that doesn't work, buy Mocap gear that still costs almost as much as it costs today. Wait for test renders that take forever. And so on and so on.

CG used to be a powerhouse of innovation 20 years ago. Now it simply isn't anymore.

In my opinion there is room in CG now for 10 - 15 innovative startups that could change everbody's workflow for the better.

There is SO MUCH that can be done better in all aspects of CG. The modeling. The texturing. The animating. The simming. The lighting. The rendering.

All of it can be improved and sped up 400% if somebody really tried.

But the companies that would do this simply DO NOT EXIST at present, with the exception of SideFX/Houdini perhaps.

Everybody consumes CG in some form - movies, games, advertising, promo materials, music videos, VR.

But the tech used to produce it is horrendously inefficient and inadequate. And that needs to change at some point or the other.
 
  2 Weeks Ago
Originally Posted by skeebertus: Polygons and texture mapping were created decades ago because that was the ONLY computationally efficient way to get the slow, primitive, expensive computers of that time to do 3D graphics at all.

The technology was never meant to be used all the way to the year 2017 - it was meant to allow the computers of THAT time to do very basic 3D graphics with the technology available at THAT time.

The assumption was that as computers got faster and more powerful, something far better, cleverer and more suitable would probably be invented, and computer graphics done in completely new and different ways.

What are we using decades later? Polygons, texture maps, a few material shaders and some more computationally expensive ray-tracing/lighting algorithms.

When I mean better tools, I don't mean "give me Maya or C4D or Blender with a sleeker user interface".

I mean give me really NEW tech under the hood. Not polygons. Not ray-tracing or path-tracing. Not bitmaps mapped onto poly faces. Not light-calculation techniques that come from 1990s computer graphics papers.

Really NEW stuff for every aspect - modeling, materials, rigging, lighting, animation, scripting, dynamics. New everything.

Somebody needs to sit down and totally re-invent CG as we know it, otherwise CG will always be slow, expensive, require a 30 man team to get anything major produced, and extraordinarily inefficient.

Just ask the many, many people who completely quit doing 3D/CG professionally, as a hobby or as an art form in the last few years.

They didn't get out because they completely lost the passion to produce cool, creative 3D stuff.

They got out because the software AND hardware side of things got stuck in an endless loop of non-innovation or quasi-innovation.

Want me to draw you a picture of what CG looks like in 2025?

In 2025 you get a choice between Maya, Max, C4D, Blender and Houdini.

The software still looks almost exactly the same save for minor UI overhauls and more stylish logos or promotional websites.

85% of the functions in the software are left overs from today - 2017.

And the software, with the exception of Blender, still costs anywhere from 2K to 5K per license.

People are still trying to sell you textures, HDRIs, plugin render engines and little modeling plugins.

The overall workflow logic of the software is exactly the same today. Model - stupidly - with good old fashioned polygons. Try to fix the topology as best as you can. Put a rig inside it. Tweak the rig endlessly till it works. Try to animate by hand. If that doesn't work, buy Mocap gear that still costs almost as much as it costs today. Wait for test renders that take forever. And so on and so on.

CG used to be a powerhouse of innovation 20 years ago. Now it simply isn't anymore.

In my opinion there is room in CG now for 10 - 15 innovative startups that could change everbody's workflow for the better.

There is SO MUCH that can be done better in all aspects of CG. The modeling. The texturing. The animating. The simming. The lighting. The rendering.

All of it can be improved and sped up 400% if somebody really tried.

But the companies that would do this simply DO NOT EXIST at present, with the exception of SideFX/Houdini perhaps.

Everybody consumes CG in some form - movies, games, advertising, promo materials, music videos, VR.

But the tech used to produce it is horrendously inefficient and inadequate. And that needs to change at some point or the other.

First, it sounds an awful lot like you want someone to create software which will do all of the work for you. †None of this will matter when AI advances to the point where you get your wish and you can dictate creative notes to a computer and get feature film quality results as a result. We'll all be dead because we'd likely be ground up and turned into fuel to power the machines which run said AI.

Second, if you think that CG technology hasn't advanced dramatically in recent years, then you either haven't been around long enough or you haven't been paying attention. Go look at a big budget action film from the late 90's or early 2000's, and compare it to something modern like Thor Ragnarok or the upcoming Star Wars Episode 8. The earlier films, along the lines of the original X-Men, Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone, and The Fellowship of the Ring, have relatively few and comparatively rudimentary effects compared to modern blockbuster films. In fact, some of the stuff that I'm seeing on TV these days surpasses the work seen on those earlier films, whereas the newer films have essentially become "live action" in name only, with only a few live action characters, and just about everything else, including lead characters, being generated by a VFX pipeline.†

How did this happen? Software and production pipelines have become more efficient and more advanced, allowing the same number number of people, or even fewer, to create a much higher volume of substantially higher quality work than ever before. Don't believe me? Look at the budgets and total number of VFX shots listed on this site:

http://www.upcomingvfxmovies.com/svfx-shots-race/

Going back 20 years ago in time, Titanic had a budget of 200 million dollars and had 516 VFX shots. Now look at 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which has the same budget, which when inflation is taken into account is substantially less than Titanic's, and we have 2300 VFX shots. With inflation taken into account, we start getting into Age of Ultron territory, which had north of 3000 VFX shots. None of this would have been possible without substantial advancements in computer graphics technologies.†

As for some of your specific complaints, in regards to modeling, polygons mainly exist now as an abstract data structure hidden away from most artists, with the vast majority of organic modeling work being done by way of voxel modeling in systems such as Zbrush, 3dcoat, Modo, and Blender. Models which were impossible to create by way of older techniques such as polygon and NURBS modeling can now be done in a matter of days by a single artist, with workflows which are analogous, but with added efficiency, to practical prop building.†

In terms of texturing, we now have software like Mari and Substance Painter where artists can now paint extremely detailed textures directly onto a model, again with the analogy being practical prop building. This is a radical step forward from painting textures atop of UV grids within Photoshop.

In regards to lighting, you complain about algorithms from the 1990's, though they were in reality developed in the 1980's. They were certainly developed 30 years ago, but lack of computing power stopped them from being practical within a movie production pipeline, with algorithms such as MentalRay's photon mapping implementation being created to be used in the interim until computers were finally able to catch up. Now those old algorithms which you're complaining about are finally being used every day in VFX productions. They're essentially calculating an approximation of the wave-based physical properties of light. I've worked on films where it was normal for shots to have dozens of lights to clumsily achieve a look which you, as the end user, can now effortlessly create by placing three lights in a scene and seeing the end result in a viewport in near real time. How is this not a mind blowing advancement in technology? The next step of evolution from here would be for an AI to match a scene's lighting to that of a painted color key.

Last edited by Array : 2 Weeks Ago at 01:48 AM.
 
  2 Weeks Ago
Originally Posted by Array:First, it sounds an awful lot like you want someone to create software which will do all of the work for you. †None of this will matter when AI advances to the point where you get your wish and you can dictate creative notes to a computer and get feature film quality results as a result. We'll all be dead because we'd likely be ground up and turned into fuel to power the machines which run said AI.

Second, if you think that CG technology hasn't advanced dramatically in recent years, then you either haven't been around long enough or you haven't been paying attention. Go look at a big budget action film from the late 90's or early 2000's, and compare it to something modern like Thor Ragnarok or the upcoming Star Wars Episode 8. The earlier films, along the lines of the original X-Men, Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone, and The Fellowship of the Ring, have relatively few and comparatively rudimentary effects compared to modern blockbuster films. In fact, some of the stuff that I'm seeing on TV these days surpasses the work seen on those earlier films, whereas the newer films have essentially become "live action" in name only, with only a few live action characters, and just about everything else, including lead characters, being generated by a VFX pipeline.†

How did this happen? Software and production pipelines have become more efficient and more advanced, allowing the same number number of people, or even fewer, to create a much higher volume of substantially higher quality work than ever before. Don't believe me? Look at the budgets and total number of VFX shots listed on this site:

http://www.upcomingvfxmovies.com/svfx-shots-race/

Going back 20 years ago in time, Titanic had a budget of 200 million dollars and had 516 VFX shots. Now look at 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which has the same budget, which when inflation is taken into account is substantially less than Titanic's, and we have 2300 VFX shots. With inflation taken into account, we start getting into Age of Ultron territory, which had north of 3000 VFX shots. None of this would have been possible without substantial advancements in computer graphics technologies.†

As for some of your specific complaints, in regards to modeling, polygons mainly exist now as an abstract data structure hidden away from most artists, with the vast majority of organic modeling work being done by way of voxel modeling in systems such as Zbrush, 3dcoat, Modo, and Blender. Models which were impossible to create by way of older techniques such as polygon and NURBS modeling can now be done in a matter of days by a single artist, with workflows which are analogous, but with added efficiency, to practical prop building.†

In terms of texturing, we now have software like Mari and Substance Painter where artists can now paint extremely detailed textures directly onto a model, again with the analogy being practical prop building. This is a radical step forward from painting textures atop of UV grids within Photoshop.

In regards to lighting, you complain about algorithms from the 1990's, though they were in reality developed in the 1980's. They were certainly developed 30 years ago, but lack of computing power stopped them from being practical within a movie production pipeline, with algorithms such as MentalRay's photon mapping implementation being created to be used in the interim until computers were finally able to catch up. Now those old algorithms which you're complaining about are finally being used every day in VFX productions. They're essentially calculating an approximation of the wave-based physical properties of light. I've worked on films where it was normal for shots to have dozens of lights to clumsily achieve a look which you, as the end user, can now effortlessly create by placing three lights in a scene and seeing the end result in a viewport in near real time. How is this not a mind blowing advancement in technology? The next step of evolution from here would be for an AI to match a scene's lighting to that of a painted color key.†





ThIs!! ^


Thank you
 
  2 Weeks Ago
Originally Posted by skeebertus:
They didn't get out because they completely lost the passion to produce cool, creative 3D stuff.

Umm yes they did. You don't stop doing something if you *really* have a passion for it. If you did it wasn't a real passion. Simple. You can outgrow your passion. But thats about it.

Last edited by circusboy : 2 Weeks Ago at 04:16 PM.
 
  2 Weeks Ago
Originally Posted by XLNT-3d:" In my work, I charge for the level of effort. "



I agree completely Charging per second sound good in theory
But speaking† sctritly from the perspective of a single operator, I am concerned that
this assumes no variables such as does the client† want "cute and cartoony"
or realistic styled humanoids with hair etc.
what about speaking or non speaking
,accurate lipsynch is another lay of skilled labor
I have to perform.

And then there is lighting and environments.

For an example the client needs a 20 second animation "a guy"
jumping down from a loading dock,turning a corner and banging
his head on a low door way and falling to the ground.
I can produce this with little effort in Daz studio
and charge accordingly


Now if the client wants the guy to look like a character from "KingsGlave Final Fantasy"
including a highly detailed backgrounds† etc.
His costs† per second are going to be signifigantly higher.

Last edited by ThreeDDude : 2 Weeks Ago at 03:14 PM. Reason: spelling
 
  1 Week Ago
Originally Posted by skeebertus: Almost all 3D software you can buy today is based on ageing 3D graphics techniques pioneered way back in the late 20th Century.


Every word processor you can buy today is based on techniques pioneered in the mid 20th century. Every car you can buy today is based on techniques pioneered in the late nineteenth century. Expecting constant revolutionary growth in a field is wildly unrealistic.
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